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Film Noir Classic Collection (6-discs), Vol. 3


Border Incident      His Kind of Woman

 

 Lady in the Lake   On Dangerous Ground    The Racket

 


Titles

 

 


 

Border Incident (1949)
As far removed from a "typical" MGM picture as it was possible to get back in 1949, Border Incident is a gritty, realistic crime melodrama. The story concerns the efforts by both the Mexican and American governments to stop the smuggling of Mexican migrant workers across the border. Representing Mexico is special agent Pablo Rodriguez (Ricardo Montalban), while Jack Bearnes (George Murphy) works on behalf of the US. Screenwriter John C. Higgins and producer/director Anthony Mann refuse to pull any punches, as witness the surprising mid-film murder of one of the major characters. Highlights include a harrowing episode involving a plowing machine and a climactic shootout in a quicksand swamp. The uniformly well-chosen supporting cast includes Howard da Silva, Arnold Moss, Alfonso Bedoya and Charles McGraw, "film noir" veterans all. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide located HERE

His Kind of Woman (1951)
His Kind of Woman directed by veteran John Farrow, is a convoluted mystery thriller which tries unsuccessfully to combine slapstick comedy with excessive violence, resulting in a film that depends more on stereotypes than on plot development. Nick (Raymond Burr), is a deported gang boss who needs to get back to the United States to run his operation. Dan Miller (Robert Mitchum) is a hard-up guy, who is persuaded, both by a series of beatings and a substantial sum of money, to sell his identity to Nick. Lenore (Jane Russell) a singer, poses as a heiress, trying to marry a millionaire. They all meet up in a resort in Mexico where Nick intends to have plastic surgery to alter his looks. There, a number of double-crosses, shootings, and chases all culminate in an exciting confrontation aboard ship. His Kind of Woman, a Howard Hughes production designed to be a showcase for Jane Russell, is entertaining when viewed as a comedy. As a serious film-noir thriller, it lacks suspense and depth. However, the film has its moments, and Robert Mitchum is in his element as the loner anti-hero. ~ Linda Rasmussen, All Movie Guide located HERE

Lady In The Lake (1946)
Robert Montgomery is the director and star of the film noir mystery Lady in the Lake, adapted for the screen by source novelist Raymond Chandler. Montgomery plays detective Philip Marlowe, a private eye who just wants to publish his own crime stories. Kingsby Publications editor Adrienne Fromsett (Audrey Totter) meets with Marlowe, but offers him a job as a detective instead of a writer. She wants him to find the missing wife of her boss, Mr. Kingsby (Leon Ames). (Adrienne wants them to proceed with their divorce so she can marry Kingsby herself.) Marlowe accepts the job and goes looking for clues at the home of the wife's sometime lover, Chris Lavery (Dick Simmons). When Marlowe gets knocked out and picked up for drunk driving, he decides to drop the case. He is drawn back in, however, when Adrienne suggests that Kingsby's wife is responsible for the murder of a mysterious lady in the lake. Lloyd Nolan and Tom Tully play two police detectives also on the case. Lady in the Lake is remembered as being filmed with a subjective camera -- almost entirely from Marlowe's point of view -- and subsequently hyped by an MGM ad campaign. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, All Movie Guide located HERE

On Dangerous Ground (1951)
Robert Ryan plays Jim Wilson, a tough police detective embittered by years of dealing with low-life urban scum, in Nicholas Ray's moving film noir. After severely beating several suspects, Jim is assigned to a case far from the city to find the killer of a young girl. Joining the manhunt, in snow-covered terrain, Wilson finds himself paired with the victim's father, Walter Brent (Ward Bond), who plans to shoot the killer himself. When the two men come upon a cabin occupied by Mary Malden (Ida Lupino), a blind woman who is also the killer's sister, Wilson's life is changed forever. Mary, a generous and loving person who has cared for her mentally ill brother Danny (Sumner Williams) since the death of their parents, convinces Wilson to protect Danny from Brent. Wilson also promises to get help for Danny if he surrenders to him. Inspired by Mary's courage and recognizing Brent's rage as the mirror image of his own, Wilson gains the insight to free himself from his own blindness. The film includes a memorable score by Alfred Hitchcock favorite Bernard Herrmann. ~ Steve Press, All Movie Guide located HERE

The Racket (1951)
The Racket was based on a play by Bartlett Cormack, first filmed as a silent in 1928. The storyline was updated to include references to Estes Kefauver's Senate Crime Investigating Committee: otherwise, the plot (and much of the dialogue) was lifted bodily from the Cormack play. Racketeer Robert Ryan has managed to get several government and law-enforcement higher-ups in his pocket. But Ryan can't touch the incorruptible police officer Robert Mitchum, who refuses all attempts at bribery. Ryan pulls strings to get Mitchum transferred to a series of undesirable precincts, but Mitchum will not be dissuaded. The battle of wills between cop and criminal comes to a head when mob-connected nightclub singer Lizabeth Scott turns on her former protector Ryan. The Broadway version of The Racket starred Edward G. Robinson as the racketeer; the 1928 film version featured Louis Wolheim in the Robinson role and Thomas Meighan as the upright cop. Both the silent and sound versions of the property were personally produced by Howard R. Hughes. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide located HERE.

Posters

Theatrical Releases: Various from 1946 - 51

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Warner Home Video - Region 1, 4 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

   

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Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1, 4 - NTSC
Time: over 8 hrs. total on six discs
Audio English (original mono)
Subtitles English, French, Spanish, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33 

Edition Details:

 

Border Incident (1949)
Commentary by film historian Dana Polan
Theatrical Trailer
His Kind of Woman (1951)
Commentary by film historian Vivian Sobchack
Lady in the Lake (1946)
Commentary by film historians Alain Silver and James Ursini
Theatrical Trailer
On Dangerous Ground (1952)
Commentary by film historian Glenn Erickson
Theatrical Trailer
The Racket (1951)
Commentary by film historian Eddie Mueller
Bonus Disc (exclusive to set)
Documentary: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light
Vintage Shorts
A Gun in His Hand (1945)
• You, the People (1940)
• Women in Hiding (1940)
• Forbidden Passage (1941)
Note on DVD sets: During
 


DVD Release Date: July 18th, 2006

6 transparent slim cases inside a cardboard box
Chapters:

Border Incident: 25

His Kind of Woman: 34

Lady in the Lake: 22

On Dangerous Ground: 22

The Racket: 24

 

Comments:

NOTE: Although the 5 main features (and bonus disc) of this boxset are housed in individual slim-transparent cases (see images above and below) they are not sold separately at this time and can only be obtained in the Warner Film Noir Classic Collection (6-discs), Vol. 3.

Technical specifications of the discs: It appears that Lady in the Lake and Border Incident are coded for regions 1,2,3,4, where His Kind of Woman, On Dangerous Ground and The Racket are region coded for 1 and 4. All discs are in the NTSC standard. Each have original English audio and options for English, French and Spanish subtitles in an off-white font with black border. All appear to be on single-layered DVDs (Except 'His Kind of Woman' and the Bonus disc) and all offer audio commentaries.

Image: For an unknown reason His Kind of Woman is not transferred progressively. It, hence, has moments of great weakness. I can't think of any other Warner DVD transferred in this limited manner. I will verify on another system but it would be impossible for me to obtain the 'combing' capture shown below if each frame was transferred individually. Likewise the bonus disc (Documentary and 5 Noir shorts) are similarly not transferred progressively although this is far more common with bonus material. In short His Kind of Woman rivals the very dark and frequently muddy On Dangerous Ground as the worst looking of the five feature films. His Kind of Woman does look very acceptable for most of the film watching through a cathode ray tube (standard tube TV). We will eventually fully compare On Dangerous Ground with its PAL counterpart. On the surface it looks a shade superior than the Montparnasse (PAL), but not a heck of lot better. Lady in the Lake has damage marks (dust and blemishes) and digital noise with highly visible artifacts but those weaknesses settle down as the film progresses and they become less of a distraction. Border Incident looks the best of the 5 with The Racket not far behind although it is rife with speckles in the first 7 minutes - both are fairly smooth and detailed - The Racket may have had some black-level boosting but it is not excessive. 

NOTE: We feel the selected screen captures below give a good representation of the image quality. 

Audio - All original (monaural) and I did not have any issues with the sound on any of the releases. Dialogue was always clear and consistent. I would say this is one of Warner's strengths - they rarely issue DVDs with substantial audio damage. I noted no excessive gaps, pops or hisses (perhaps a bit of hiss on On Dangerous Ground). 

Extras - The commentaries are all quite good. Staring with the best - Eddie Muller's encyclopedic knowledge informs us, in strong detail, of the history of the The Racket, its production and the director (John Cromwell). I can't see any Noir fan not being totally enthralled. He is the best. Of the others I am quite comfortable now with Alain Silver and James Ursini (Lady In The Lake) and Glenn Erickson (On Dangerous Ground) continues to impress me (as do his reviews). They all make me feel what a Noir piker I am and how much I look forward to learning in the future. I think professor Vivian Sobchack is well prepared and does a fine job with His Kind Of Woman and another prof. - Dana Polan - gives us debate whether Mann's Border Incident truly belongs in the Noir stylistic grouping. I enjoyed all of them and never found the pace overly slow with any excessive gaps. These commentaries are extremely enjoyable. Immense value for those interested in advancing their knowledge of Noir... and cinema in general.

Trailers are included for all (respectively) except His Kind of Woman and The Racket

On the bonus disc there is a fine documentary: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light. Sydney Pollack and many others give thought to the Noir phenomenon with numerous short clips from some of the more recognizable films bearing that style. I also got a big kick out of the Noir shorts:

A Gun in His Hand (1945)
You, the People (1940)
Women in Hiding (1940)
Forbidden Passage (1941)

The Luckiest Guy in the World (1947)

They range from about 10-20 minutes each and have definite value although obviously limited by time for any advanced development.

Overall impression: The image quality in this boxset is a solid notch below Warner standards of the Film Noir Vol 1 and Film Noir Vol. 2 Collections. I'm also unhappy that these are not sold separately, but suspect anyone buying will indulge in the entire collection regardless. I'm not crazy about the colorized images from the film(s) in the menus - which continue to be anamorphic widescreen for 4:3 films (about as picky as I can get). Okay enough complaining... on the positive side - the extras are the best of any Warmer boxset to date. All 5 films have commentaries - and the bonus disc documentary and 5 short Noirs are a wonderful inclusion. Bravo!

Film Noir is addictive. Once you depart and return you never know why you left and constantly crave more. Like a friendly 'pusher' - Warner are supplying for my habit and I am very appreciative. I may get critical of the image (although who knows about the quality of the original elements), but I truly thank Warner for bringing this package for purchase availability at such a reasonable price. I think anyone who loves film is crazy if they don't buy this DVD set. It is something I will cherish for the rest of my life - as soon as I completed all the commentaries I wanted to repeat the process - this DVD package is pure gold. We hope our discussion of the image has prepared you to anticipate a slightly less-than-perfect appearance but we still strongly recommend this collection.     

Gary W. Tooze

 





DVD Menus


 

Extras: Bonus Disc contains a documentary and some Film Noir shorts:
Documentary: Film Noir: Bringing Darkness to Light
A Gun in His Hand (1945)
You, the People (1940)
Women in Hiding (1940)
Forbidden Passage (1941)

The Luckiest Guy on the World (1947)

 


 

Slim Transparent Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Border Incident USA 1949

 

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/direct-chair/mann.htm


Starring Ricardo Montalban, George Murphy, Howard Da Silva and James Mitchell

 

 


Slim Transparent Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

His Kind of Woman USA 1951 Directed by John Farrow and Richard Fleischer (uncredited)


Starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Russell, Vincent Price, Tim Holt and Charles McGraw

 

 

 

Combing evident...

 

 


Slim Transparent Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Lady in the Lake USA 1947 Directed by Robert Montgomery


Starring Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter and Lloyd Nolan

 

 


Slim Transparent Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

On Dangerous Ground  USA 1952  Directed by Nicholas Ray and Ida Lupino (uncredited)


Starring Ida Lupino, Robert Ryan, Ward Bond and Charles Kemper .

 

(Warner - Region 1,4 - NTSC TOP vs. Éditions Montparnasse (re-release) - Region 2 - PAL BOTTOM)

The PAL (France) edition is reviewed in Full HERE

 

 


Slim Transparent Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

The Racket USA 1951 Directed by John Cromwell and Mel Ferrer (uncredited) and Nicholas Ray (uncredited)


Starring Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott, Robert Ryan, William Talman and Ray Collins

 

 


Slim Transparent Case Cover

 

 

 

Screen Captures

 

Bringing Darkness To Light

 

 


 

DVD Box Cover

   

CLICK to order from:

Distribution Warner Home Video - Region 1, 2, 3, 4 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Thank You!